I Need Your Input

In my work in adult catechesis this year, I am assisting the pastoral staff of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago with articulating a vision for adult faith formation for the parish. We are using the Six Tasks of Catechesis to guide our efforts and we are presently working on the first task, which is Knowledge of the Faith. Here is where I could use your help: Please describe one initiative in your parish that is […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 5

As we continue our series on how to host Lenten small faith groups in your parish, we turn our attention to the immediate weeks before the program starts. I am drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago where last year, over 200 parishioners gathered to participate in small faith groups during Lent. Today’s post includes sample small group promotional materials that you can adapt for your own use. 5 Weeks Out […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 4

In our continuing series on how to host small faith groups in your parish, today’s post calls us to look at training leaders to facilitate the small groups. Our model is a parish in Chicago that gathered parishioners in homes to participate in Scripture groups during Lent. 1–2 Months Out A critical step in ensuring the success of small groups is the training of leaders to facilitate the process. Invite the potential leaders to a […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 3

We continue our series here on Catechist’s Journey on how to implement small faith groups in your parish. Today we look at the crucial step of identifying, inviting, and training small group leaders. This is by far the most critical step, since the small faith groups will conduct their sessions in parishioners’ homes, without parish staff present. This follows the successful model used by St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago last Lent. 2–3 Months Out Select […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 2

Today we continue a series here on Catechist’s Journey that will lay out for you the steps to successfully implement small faith groups in your parish with an eye on Lent as a target. I am drawing on the successful experience of St. Barnabas Parish in Chicago, where last year over 200 parishioners gathered in homes during the season of Lent to participate in small faith groups. The success of the efforts at St. Barnabas […]

How to Host Parish Small Faith Groups, Part 1

During these past few months, as I’ve begun exploring the world of adult faith formation, I have become convinced that one of the key principles of AFF is that it is most effective when it is relational. In other words, we can’t simply gather adults and talk at them—they need to talk to one another! With that in mind, I am proud and excited to launch a series here on Catechist’s Journey that will lay […]

First Reconciliation Parent Session

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of facilitating the First Reconciliation Parent Meeting at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park, IL, where I served as a catechist for a number of years. I had been the presenter at this meeting several times in the past, however, I was not comfortable just delivering a talk in the church to the parents who sat passively throughout. I worked with the DRE, Lori Kennedy, to create a […]

Adults Sharing Faith – Kids Listen In

Last week, we hosted an evening of adult faith formation at St. Cajetan parish that featured 5 adults forming a panel to share their stories of faith connected with the Rosary. While the event was sparsely populated (I’ve yet to solve the mystery of getting parents to attend faith formation while their children are in class…still working on it!), a bonus feature was that the 7th grade catechist brought his students over to “listen in.” […]

Responsiveness

Recently, I stopped by a parish to see a staff member. The receptionist greeted me warmly, inquired how she could be of help, contacted the staff member, and then invited me to have a seat until he was available. Then, she did something that I’ve never exprienced in all my years of visiting parish offices and rectories. She asked if I wanted something to drink! I was indeed thirsty and requested a glass of water […]

Getting Away from the Presentation/Lecture Method for Adult Faith Formation

One of the patterns that we need to break in order for ongoing Adult Faith Formation to take root and grow is the bad habit of lecturing to adults for 45 minutes or an hour and calling that adult catechesis. In many parishes, adult faith formation takes the shape of a staff member (pastor, associate pastor, deacon, pastoral associate, DRE) deciding that he or she will offer a series of classes for 6 to 8 weeks. […]

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